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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

True Love



True love is simple. It is the act of being completely honest with ourselves about the people we love and what we love to do. This past weekend I had a birthday and turned 22 years old! I reflected a bit on how I've changed this past year. In short, I am happier than I've ever been.

For much of my life, I focused on the outcome - specifically, on the future. People described me as ambitious and hard-working. I had big, lofty dreams and I was stressed out each day trying to get there. If anything happened that put me backwards a couple steps, I felt so frustrated. Sure, I had some moments that felt great and were the perfect result I dreamed about. However, I spent the majority of my time stressing out about it.

If we focus intensely on one thing, it becomes our reality. For me, this was the future and my perfect outcome.

I didn't see all of the good that happened day-to-day. and I certainly didn't see any of the unique opportunities presented to me. I established my future in my head and ran towards it at full-force. Anything that grabbed my attention I considered a "distraction," and thought it was holding me back from my dream.

Then, this year, something changed. My mindset switched from the future to the present - and when it did, some amazing things happened.

I couldn't sleep because I was so excited about the next day. This happened every single night, even if  I had nothing planned.

I didn't feel the social anxiety when talking to new people. I knew I liked talking and connecting with others, so I went for it and didn't worry about it anymore.

I decided to take my phone off silent so I could hear a text or call coming in, and started responding back. My relationships grew stronger and became more honest.

I loved writing and followed several bloggers, so I decided to start my own blog and write as much as possible.

Instead of spending all my money on organic food, I began buying nicer clothes because I love style and fashion. Even the smallest happiness has power. Don't mistake it for something insignificant! Following what makes us happy and acting on it every day completely changes our reality.

Then we can live, love and enjoy our life!






Love, E 













Monday, January 2, 2017

Winter Park, Colorado



When evening turns to night in Colorado, the trees and mountains transition from a dramatic landscape into dark shadows. The beautiful view we had during the day is complete darkness. Every tree, mountain and ridge begins to blend. They are only a slight contrast to one another. They are basic shapes. However, even in the darkness, on a clear night we can look up and see an expansive, endless sky covered in stars. 

My sister and I wandered down the road from the cabin. We were in the wilderness. The absence of street lamps and buildings made us rely on the light from the stars to see. We looked up, pointed out constellations and stood beneath the Milky Way while expressing our awe at shooting stars. 

My resolutions for 2017 revolve around this moment. It was a reminder to enjoy everything, even when things are uncertain. While people may try and tell us what we should do and who we should be, ultimately we have a great responsibility to be good to ourselves. 

We must do what we want to do, live how we want to live and open our eyes to the opportunties we are faced with each day to be our best. We should show our love and care for the people we love. We should be honest with ourselves about what we want - push aside fear for the life of our dreams. 

Really, all of this is nothing new. The life changer is when we quit thinking about how we want to live our life, and will ourselves to start actually living it. 













Thursday, December 29, 2016

Home Again



 


We walked through the alley, up the steps to our favorite coffee shop and opened the door into the comforting, warm embrace of Wild Boar Cafe. The smell of coffee grounds, chai tea spices and earthy flavors of craft brews on tap combine. It is powerful, overwhelming and familiar. 
At Wild Boar Cafe, I feel at home. 

Fort Collins, Colorado 


 

 
 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

December



Finals finished up on Friday and I am having the laziest Sunday, munching on dark chocolate covered espresso beans while sipping my coffee. 

The last couple weeks I focused on finishing up my fall semester in school, so I didn't blog as much as I would like. However, I still wanted to write about all of the fun, holiday activities I did during December. This is more of a catch-up post, hope you enjoy! 

Stables Steakhouse in Terre Haute, Indiana 

There isn't much in Terre Haute, Indiana, but there is a restaurant inside an old, renovated horse barn. Each table had a private horse stall with a sliding door and a chandelier hanging overhead. 

We passed around bread and a charcuterie board topped with meat and cheese. I ate scallops for the first time, savoring every bite dipped into melted butter. The traditional holiday decor and twinkling lights made the dinner perfect, the best way to kick off the holiday season.  



Dinner Party 


In November, I received an invitation to a small dinner party at my best friends' home. Maryn and Heidi are not only great friends, but they are culinary geniuses. I couldn't wait for this night. 

Heidi, a culinary science major, cooks  up some of the most creative dishes imaginable. She constantly checks up on test-kitchen websites and consistently makes banana bread from scratch without a recipe in sight. It's very impressive. However, her food would not be the same without meat-master Maryn who helps brainstorm ideas, assists Heidi with food-prep and very willingly spreads melted butter over a raw bird with her hands. 

When we walked inside, everything was perfect. Heidi's dog, Jo, greeted us in a holiday sweater. Wine glasses filled with white and purple flowers filled the table and each person had an adorable place setting, customized with their name. Maryn and Heidi took care of every detail and planned a really special night for a small group of their friends. 

 


Deck the Halls 

The holidays are all about friends and family - spending time with people we love. Steve's parents drove to Des Moines and helped him decorate his apartment for Christmas. It was a weekend filled with cocoa, candy-making and decorating a big Christmas tree in his apartment. 

His place is feeling ultra-festive! 




Cookie Decorating with my Roomie

Less than a week ago, my roommate and I decided we needed a break from studying and test-taking. So, we made sugar cookies and spent hours baking and decorating angels and candy canes. Eating dough dipped in frosting was the perfect way to spend a Wednesday in the middle of a very hectic week. 



With one week until Christmas, there will probably be a few more holiday posts in the next couple days. 

Cheers and happy holidays! 





Thursday, December 1, 2016

Inspiration in 2016



It's December 1! We are in the month dedicated to giving, sharing and receiving. This is also a time of reflection. We recall memories with friends and family and might think about our resolutions for the New Year.

With one month left of 2016, I wanted to share some of the most inspiring things I picked up or stumbled upon during the past 11 months. They are lessons and advice that I will carry over into 2017.

1. You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life 
 by Jen Sincero 

I bought this book at an Urban Outfitters in Austin, Texas during the spring. I only had fifteen dollars with me when I stumbled upon the book, but after reading one chapter in the store I eagerly purchased it. Since then, I've read the entire thing three times and loaned it out to four people - one of which was my mom, who kept the book for several months. 

Read this book with a notebook and pen beside you, or hold a highlighter. Sincero's advice is just too good to leave alone. I have reminders in my phone with quotes from this novel. This way, I can conciously think about some some of these topics every single day.

Find Sincero's website here and order her book off Amazon.

I'm incredibly excited for her new book, You Are a Badass at Making Money out in April 2017. I already pre-ordered it.

2. Casey Neistat's final vlog

If you haven't watched Neistat before, don't worry. You will still get something from watching this video. He discusses feeling too comfortable in his career and taking that next step with full enthusiasm and commitment - a lesson that applies to almost any risk in life.

I really don't want to give too much away, so I'll let him do the talking.

Click here for the video, and then make some coffee, settle in and watch more of Neistat's videos. 

3. President Barack Obama

Well, specifically a quote by President Barack Obama.

I came across this while scrolling through Instagram. It is the caption of an Instagram post by Humans of New York, posted on November 9, 2016. Since then, it has been my wallpaper, written in my planner and now it sits in a notes page on my phone.

We shouldn't overthink things, we just have to take it day-by-day and trust in the work we do.






Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Tribute to Mountain Coffee


There is nothing better than a small, local coffee shop in the heart of the mountains with sparkling string lights hanging crooked and cute around the door. 

I love coffee shops but I especially love those close to the mountains. The mochas taste richer and the whipped cream is piled higher. Espresso is necessary, so people can hike, ski, snowshoe or do whatever their heart desires when deep in the wilderness.

Last week, we planned a day trip up to Estes Park. After a lazy morning of making scrambled eggs and eating slice after slice of buttered toast, my dad, sister, boyfriend and I piled into the car and drove up to the mountains. 10 minutes into the drive we decided to stop at one of my dad's favorite little coffee shops: The Barking Dog Cafe in Lyons, Colorado. 
   



We ordered cappuccinos and black coffee that tasted dark and spicy with hints of cinnamon. The wood floors creaked beneath our feet and the walls were covered in posters of events happening around the area. The baristas wore winter hats and poured drinks into plain, white cups. It felt sweet and homey like these mountain coffee shops usually do. They provide a place of relaxation and relief from the elements outside. 

Any hardcore mountain explorer feels at ease when they step into a coffee shop between adventures. On this morning, we were just getting started. Later that day we would see beautiful snow capped mountains, drive up to Bear Lake and watch hundreds of elk run down a mountain and into the valley. Yet still, one of my favorite parts of the day was parking on that little street in downtown Lyons and walking through a door greeted by the smell of espresso and sweet spices. After time spent in a mountain coffee shop, one thing is certain. 

We all leave smelling like coffee grounds, feeling warm and caffeinated for the adventures ahead. 



-E 



Monday, November 28, 2016

Vacay Vibes


We drove through the mountains on winding roads to Bear Lake in Estes Park, CO 

After a week spent near the mountains of Colorado and the Twin Cities in Minnesota, I've decided to carry over those vacation feels. I'm talking about the good vibes, feeling grateful every single day and providing the world with positivity instead of complaining about work/school/life etc. I'm taking the leap and choosing risk over safety.

It's simple. When I enjoy my life, and choose happiness, I am more creative. 

I just spent a week exploring new places, eating wholesome, homemade food and drinking delicious craft beer with family and friends. Although I flew out of Denver on Friday and drove down from Minneapolis yesterday, I am still incredibly excited. I feel optimistic about this week. I'm stoked! It's time to switch things up. 

Here are my conscious efforts this week: 

In group projects, bring positivity and openness to the table along with any out-of-the-box ideas. Don't settle with the logical next step or the obvious decision. This happens when students just want the points or the easy A. However, class and work provide opportunities everyday to stretch ourselves under the guidance of a professor or supervisor. Hopefully they have more experience, encourage this risk-taking and can expand these ideas into more complex or effective ones. 

Sort of the opposite, in personal work take a risk and enjoy that adrenaline rush of trying something new. Unlike school or work, this is on us to improve innovative ideas until we are satisfied with the final product. Working for ourselves in some way is a risk. It helps us learn, grow and ultimately succeed. 

Finally, in the mornings before we rush out the door, and in the nights after a hard days work - we should do something we love. Avoid watching TV and falling asleep on the couch. Yes, anything else on the surface may sound unappealing at the moment, but training for that marathon, studying up on craft cocktails, accomplishing that puzzle or baking homemade bread will renew the soul. 

While work may feed our lifestyles, what we do and how we act outside of the job will fuel who we are. 

It will make us better than before.